Search Engine Optimization is unquestionably one of the top digital marketing strategies that has changed the way businesses compete with each other and has revolutionized the process on how they reach out to their target customers.
Nowadays, modern businesses don’t go around without SEO as part of their digital marketing arsenal. According to a research conducted by Ascend2, 82% of the surveyed marketers considered SEO as a more effective digital marketing strategy with 42% stating that its effectiveness has increased significantly. Eighty-one percent of the survey’s respondents revealed that their SEO efforts are at least above average.
SEO last year, as predicted by many industry experts, has been really more about innovations with the Google, still the leading search engine.
This year, search engine optimization is expected to gain more popularity as it has already become a staple in digital marketing. If you are one of those businesses who have already jumped into the SEO bandwagon, you should keep yourself updated with the latest trends that can impact on how you optimize your websites for search.
In 2017, these are the top trends that you should watch out.
- The mobile domination
- The steady rise of videos
- The rise of AMP’s popularity
- Content quality is king
- Backlinks getting sidetracked
Okay. You not only need to watch out, but must also focus on those ones that can bring impact on how you optimize your content for search engines. These trends are picked by experts based on their significance, relevance, and popularity among SEO practitioners in the industry.
1. Everyone Goes Mobile
John Lincoln, in his article in Business2Community.com, predicted that mobile will become more important. He foresees that more and more companies will adopt a “mobile first” strategy when it comes to SEO.
Let’s also not forget that Google is now moving to a mobile-only world. According to Gianluca Fiorelli in his article in Moz.com, mobile-first indexing has become an inevitable result of almost a year of changing the people’s mindset from desktop to mobile.
Fiorelli added that in a mobile-only world, the importance of local search is even more crucial.
“In a mobile-only world, the relevance of local search is even higher. This seems to be the strategic reason both for an update like Possum and all the tests we see in local, and also of the acquisition of a company like Urban Engines, whose purpose is to analyze the “Internet of Moving Things.””
2. Video marketing still reigns
In 2016, video has been predicted to rise more in relevance compared to text content. This year (2017), it is predicted that online video will account for 74% of all web traffic. This figure alone shows the potential impact video marketing can bring into your SEO campaign.
When 81% of people feature their video on their brand website, the need to optimize these pages to rank on top of the SERPs become more of a necessity. This is one of the major reasons why 93% of marketers will use video for online marketing, sales, and communication.
According to MerchantMarketingGroup.com (in 2015), 96% of B2B companies are planning to use video in their content marketing on 2016. So, from this alone, those who are using video this year might have already surpassed that figure.
Lastly, based from our observation, the rise of video marketing has been greatly affected by the steady rise of mobile. Video consumption nowadays shows people’s fast-paced lifestyle. This should be put into perspective if you are strategizing how you can make your SEO more effective.
3. AMP is becoming more and more popular
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is another technology launched by Google to create better mobile experience for online users. It was launched in 2015 but was integrated in the SERPs on the first quarter of 2016 (February).
According to SearchEngineWatch.com, one of the most successful AMP integrated websites in 2016 is Gizmodo. They got 50% increase in impressions and 80% from their AMP pages are new traffic.
You will know if a website has an AMP integration when it shows up on mobile with the lightning icon on the upper right side (see screenshot above). This signals readers that they can instantly click that link and read the news article inside Facebook (for example). The biggest websites that used the AMP format include WordPress, Reddit, Bing, Ebay, and Pinterest.
AMP integration brings so much impact into your SEO these days because Google has already been prioritizing AMP pages to show up on top of the SERPs. Again, this technology is created to cater the rising demand of better mobile user experience. You should keep this in mind in doing SEO this year.
4. Content quality is king
You might be familiar with the popular tag line “Content is King”, but that is not the real deal these days. It’s now “Content Quality is King”. The quality of your content can predict the outcome of your digital marketing campaign, more specifically in SEO. There’s no point in producing content that would only be thrown into the gigantic trash bin of the World Wide Web.
One of the factors that can add quality to a content is the incorporation of ideas from industry leaders. According to Demand Gen Report, 96% of B2B buyers demand content with more input from industry-thought leaders.
Ever since the inception of the internet, it’s always been about content. But, if you want to compete and get an edge from your competitors, then you should prioritize quality all the time. No matter how good your SEO strategy is, if your content is subpar, it will never help you accomplish your goals.
5. Backlinks are not the top ranking signal anymore
This is not news to anyone who has been keeping a tab in the latest happenings in the industry. But, for those who are still not aware, backlinks have already continuously spiraled down in relevance through the years. Why is this happening and how can this bring impact on how you do SEO this year?
Of course, there are still many who don’t agree on this. See here Backlinko’s study last year wherein they said that backlinks are still the most important search ranking factor. But, this is negated by Search Metrics. Their study revealed that backlinks have continuously lose their relevance and no longer the ultimate factor in search ranking. Here’s Search Metrics statement in detail.
“Whereas the importance of a well-established internal link structure of a domain can rarely be overestimated, backlinks no longer primarily determine search engine rankings. Depending on the topic, it is now sometimes possible for a website to achieve a high Google ranking even with far fewer links than its competitors.”
Search Metrics further explained why this is happening.
“This is partly driven by the increase in mobile search queries, as URLs on mobile devices are often liked or shared, but rarely actively linked. The increasing prominence of apps and app rankings in organic search is also contributing to the decline of backlinks’ importance.”
Of course, despite all these, backlinks are still part of the major search ranking factors. It’s just that, compared to before, it is not the “supreme overlord” anymore.
Other trends that are also expected to affect how you do SEO this year include personal branding, prioritization of better user experience, the arrival of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), content optimization for Facebook search, and long form content.
If you put all these trends in perspective, there’s one common denominator that always surfaces and that is mobile. Every trend that can affect how you do this year is a necessity because they make mobile user experience better.
The “Mobilegeddon” that Google launched almost two years ago has now taken a full-swing effect not only in SEO but in all aspects of digital marketing. Almost everything now is created in major consideration on how they appear on mobile. Thus, if you are serious in optimizing your content for search, you should now put mobile optimization first before anything else. Good luck!